Clearing Up Confusion

  • Jeff Gibbard
  • 7 min read

When we meet people in-person or online, we instinctively begin building a story about them in our minds.

Everything from their name to how they dress, and from where they live to statements they’ve made, blend together into a narrative that is based on our past experiences and influences. This is human nature and it is automatic.

Often, what we believe about someone is incorrect, and when it happens, there is a moment of confusion. However, over time, this error in pre-judgement gets added to our narrative generator and saved for future use.

One way that we, as individuals, can take some measure of control in the narratives that people create about us, is to clearly lay out some of our key characteristics and define certain elements so as to avoid confusion later on.

Today, I want to do this about myself and this newsletter to clear up any confusion for those I meet on social media, and for those who joined this blog/podcast/newsletter and aren’t yet quite sure what it’s all about.

This one is less of a how-to post or an insight, and more of a manifesto or charter. So, if you want to skip this one I understand. I’m planning on writing something more actionable next.

The Blog/Podcast/Newsletter

You may be reading this blog on my website, you may get it via email, or maybe you listen to the podcast version. Whatever the case, let me quickly breakdown what it’s all about. I’ll start with belief.

  • I believe that all people are capable of extraordinary things.
  • I believe that our obstacles can empower us and build character instead of defining us and limiting us. Our choices determine the type of person we become and the impact we make on the world.
  • I believe our abilities combined with our choices give every person the opportunity to become a Superhero.

Because I believe these things, I create content that empowers people to grow in various ways.

In some cases, I talk about specific skills we can use in business, like branding, marketing, and sales. In other cases, I’m looking more broadly at how those skills and others like leadership and productivity, can help us in other important areas of our lives. The point is that self-improvement for the betterment of our lives at work, at home, and in our communities is the through-line.

  • Becoming a Superhuman is about growing your abilities.
  • Becoming a Superhero is about how you use those abilities.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that my content takes very strong stances.

Re: Business

Business is a thing we do to exchange goods and services. It’s a component of society, not society itself. When I talk about business, this is how I’m talking about it, as a part of a larger whole.

Some people don’t like this. They want to compartmentalize it. They want different rules to apply. They want politics to stay out of business but are often less interested in business staying out of politics.

That’s not how I see business.

There is no way to disassociate business from its role in society. There is no way to talk about business without discussing politics. The person is political and people make up businesses. If you have a business in the United States, it is operating on land stolen from Indigenous people, in a society built on wealth accumulated from the use of slave labor, while participating in a classist system that continually expands wealth inequality .

This is the larger system that business exists within. How can we put all of that off to the side?

The Boundaries and the Warning

I am always up-front and clear about my beliefs and my boundaries, even to the extent that it costs me business. Some time back in 2020, I began including a warning in my proposals and posted it on my website. Shout out to Chris Farias, CEO of Unicorn Rebellion for the idea. They have their own warning that I copied and made my own.

I do this to make it very easy for prospects, clients, and partners to decide if they still want to work with me. I work a four-day work week and am extremely outspoken in my beliefs. I have the privilege to do this because I am self-employed.

So, imagine how funny it is to me when people I encounter online threaten to expose me for my deeply held and publicly posted beliefs. LOL, if they only knew.

Standing in the Comments

In the wake of waves hands wildly, gesturing in all fascist directions, I have found myself in the comments section more often than usual. Why? Because…

  • I see women, trans, and non-binary folx getting harassed.
  • I see people of color getting harassed.
  • I see my LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters getting harassed.

I also get the occasional pearl-clutching response to my newsletter seeking to shame me for my beliefs.

Here is my policy for how I will respond to any responses to my newsletter or interactions in the comments section.

1. Their approach sets the tone

burning firewood on fire during night time

If they come in respectfully with a differing opinion and a genuine desire to find common ground, I will gladly entertain productive dialogue. We can have a kind, respectful and engaging chat about a better future for everyone.

If they come in guns blazing, ready to “put me in my place,” or espouse views that oppress, discriminate, or suggest violence toward any particular group, I have a different policy.

  1. I suffer no fools
  2. I will not be kind
  3. I will be intentionally condescending and smug
  4. I will systematically dismantle their entire argument
  5. I will not hesitate to publicly embarrass them

I publicly and openly stand by my words and my positions. I expect others to do the same.

2. I maintain an open invitation to LIVE debate

Anyone that really feels passionately about their position is invited to challenge my positions and have their positions challenged, publicly, in broad daylight on live streaming video. I’ll handle all of the technology. All they have to do is show up.

I am absolutely willing to have my mind changed. Here is my only conditions for the debate:

  • We debate the issue and the supporting arguments for that position

At the start, I will make sure we are clear on what we are talking about and we will start by steel-manning each other’s position.

From there, if there are no immovable objects in the way of either of us changing our minds, we will begin and conclude when either one of us changes our position or we comes to the realization that the exercise is fruitless.

3. Why do this?

I do this because many of the people subjected to these assaults do not have the luxury or privilege of being so outspoken. Because I do, I will. I have the power and privilege as a self-employed, white, cis-man to step in and deal with these misogynists, bigots, and trolls.

Notice of Policy

I posted this today (July 4) so everyone knows what to expect from this content and how I will conduct myself online.

Let there be no more confusion.

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